GORGEOUS FLOWERS and floral fragrances have enchanted me since I was a wee one. As fortune would have it, a decade of my childhood was spent in (West) Pakistan & northern India, where the bazaar, train stations, countryside, the cuisines, gardens, and holy places…all were infused with aromatic scents. And where cultural associations on the significance of fragrance permeates everything.
Plus I’ve always liked the IDEA of perfumes. Dad used to gift Mom bottles of her favorites for her birthday (her 85th birthday is TODAY! 1-31-2010 the day I wrote this article) or their anniversaries. As a pre-teen, I watched Mom’s mother ‘Mo,’ Grandmother Celeste, sitting in front of the vanity mirror doing her toiletry routine. She always finished up with a spritz of Chanel No.5. Don’t remember if it was Mom or Grandma who like Lavender talcum powder (used to keep her skin dry in humid weather). Do recall I wasn’t particularly fond of lavender back then.
As a teenager, used to envy both my mother and sister, who could wear perfumes beautifully. They smelled luscious in them. On me….perfume became much TOO MUCH, going over the edge to intensely cloying. As perfumers know, it’s a matter of chemistry ~ the chemistry of the fragrance components combined with one’s own unique chemistry. Through experimentation, I discovered eau de colognes & floral water spritzers with pure clear floral fragrances were best for me. Forget the “earthy, woodsy or musk” notes or synthetic ingredients. Made me reek like a woman of the night!
Fast Forward ~ 1950’s-60’s to a new century: 2003
Before this new ‘turn of the century’…I’d discovered pure essential oils, those highly prized essences that have inspired perfumers for thousands of years, precious commodities on the Silk Route and valuable trade items in today’s multi-billion-dollar global beauty industry.
14 Feb 2008
An interesting fragrance industry trade article queries: Wellness Trends to become a Future Source of Innovation? And goes on to state “The global fragrances market is set to grow by around 3% to US$35 billion [by]…2011.
One area of the market that has been less well explored is the link between fragrances and well-being. Yet aromatherapy is a long-established…and holistic beauty products are becoming a lucrative new niche. To date, attempts to tap into this trend have largely come from gimmicky novelties [perfumes] such as pheromone containing “love potions”…anti-aging perfume…the first ever anti-depressant fragrance. Perfumes based on food scents, so-called gourmand fragrances…are the closest the mainstream market has got to the holistic trend. However, going forward this could become an important source of innovation and some big name players, including Procter & Gamble, have already declared their intention to better educate consumers on the aromatherapy benefits of certain scent ingredients.” [Emphasis is mine.]
Growth Upturn in the Global Fragrances Market, 14 Feb 2008
Author: Diana Dodson, Cosmetics and Toiletries Senior Industry Analyst
In the lucrative fragrance & cosmetics industry, manufacturing techniques generally alter pure essential oils extracting only their aromatic attributes, stripping these healing essences of their therapeutic components…losing potential benefits to your well-being. Even worse has been the trend of substituting synthetic scents for more expensive prized fragrances to increase yields & profits. For instance, Rose (Rosa damascena) ~ the most expensive of all essential oils ~ requires 60,000 rose petals to produce just one ounce of oil. Pure therapeutic rose essential oil is estimated to have over 300 molecular constituents, making it difficult to recreate its healthful benefits, but comparatively easy to substitute one or more of its aromatic components.
Traces of petrochemical solvents often cause intense allergic reactions and toxic overload. Most consumers ~ unless you’re one of those folks “with allergies” ~ aren’t aware adulterated oils may cause rashes, burning skin irritations, breathing problems, and more serious chronic health issues. What’s your experience walking through a major retailer’s fragrance department, or into a candle shop, or down the soaps, detergents, and household cleaner aisles of your grocery store? I have to hold my breath. All the synthetic components irritate my nose, make me sneeze, and smell overwhelmingly suffocating….and I don’t “have” allergies. Can’t imagine what it’s like for folks who do!
The Ancient Perfumers Art has Come Full Circle.
Burgeoning consumer & commercial interest in the therapeutic benefits of fragrant essences combined with a genuine need for products that foster well-being, are encouraging a return to the ancient craft of ‘authentic perfumery.’ With cosmetic & fragrance trends being market-driven, it will be up to the consumer to press commercial perfumers to use pure holistic natural aromatics in fragrances that both delight AND heal.
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If you’re intrigued or interested in healing perfumes, read more about Mandarin Spring™ our 2009 introduction.
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PHOTO CREDIT: ‘Romance’ perfume ~ http://www.flickr.com/photos/zeerahubairi/3867452805/in/set-72157622177163700/
The Adulteration of Essential Oils and the Consequences to Aromatherapy & Natural Perfumery Practice http://www.naha.org/articles/adulteration_1.htm
The Adulteration of Essential Oils: Popular and Expensive Aromatherapy Oils are Often Substituted